Albany County Sheriff’s Corporal Derek Colling has been terminated from the Special Response Team (SRT), according to sources inside the Laramie Police Department (LPD).
In meetings with LPD staff, Albany County for Proper Policing (ACoPP) learned that Colling had previously served as an officer on the SRT. The team is managed by LPD, which staffs the SRT with officers from a variety of law enforcement agencies in Albany County. The SRT handles situations that may require specialized training, such as hostage situations, active shooters, or suicidal persons.
Colling was placed on administrative leave from the SRT immediately following the November 2018 fatal shooting of Robbie Ramirez. Despite being cleared by the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation, Colling was not allowed back to the SRT and was eventually terminated from this position. He remains a corporal for the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.
According to LPD sources, Colling was fired from SRT by Chief Dale Stalder because of concerns that Colling could not be controlled and because of the negative perception the public holds of Colling.
Colling’s firing from SRT demonstrates an important difference between the Albany County Sheriff’s Office and the Laramie Police Department.
On one hand, you have LPD’s Chief—who answers to city council—firing Derek Colling. On the other hand, you have a Sheriff—who answers only to voters every four years—refusing to fire the biggest risk in his department and to this community. This difference in leadership and accountability demonstrates that community oversight is necessary here in Albany County.
Various sources within LPD and the Sheriff’s Office have also confirmed that Derek Colling applied to work at LPD before being hired by the Sheriff’s Office. However, within a week, Colling was eliminated from the applicant process at LPD.
Chief Stalder has made decisions in his department that work towards the safety of our community. Unfortunately, other agencies are not making decisions based on the well-being of Albany County residents, so we must work to amplify the voice of the community through citizen involvement.
ACoPP is hosting a Community Forum from 6 – 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, at the Lincoln Community Center (365 W. Grand Ave) focused on civilian oversight of law enforcement. The event aims to begin a public discussion about what civilian oversight boards of law enforcement are, how they operate, the impact they can have on community policing, as well as hearing and compiling community feedback on these topics.